Rhubarb Cordial – Recipe

Ridiculously Rhubarby Cordial

One of my favourite seasonal recipes is from Pam Corbin’s preserves book and is for cordial, which during Spring and Summer has to be rhubarb based!  Mine is adapted a little.

Ingredients:
Stage 1 
2kg rhubarb
300ml water
Stage 2
Output from stage 1
Granulated sugar (around 1kg)

Method:
Stage 1
Roughly chop your rhubarb, remember rhubarb leaves are poisonous if ingested so please dispose wisely.  We use ours as ground cover in the veg plot to help stop weeds.
Add your 2kg rhubarb and 300ml water a large pot and simmer until soft.  For me this is around 30 minutes.
Leave to cool slightly and then hang this and allow to drip overnight through a scalded muslin bag.
Stage 2
Next day, I make the residual liquid (usually around 1300ml) up to 1500ml using tap water.
To this I add up to 1kg sugar depending on how sweet we would like it, however work up from 500g to your preferred taste.
Simply warm the liquid and sugar, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Add to sterilised warm bottles and drink asap, though it will keep for a few months.
I never water bath it as we use it so quickly, however you can water bath immediately after bottling for longer term use.

Enjoy 🙂

Nourishing Nettle & Lemon cake – recipe – foraging

I’m posting this a little earlier than planned as I have had lots of requests from social media for it.

Nourishing Nettle and Lemon cake

Makes 1 loaf cake
Ingredients:
2 cups nettles
200g butter
150g sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
zest & juice of half a lemon
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Method:
Pick your nettles and ensure they are as young as possible and only the top 4 leaves are picked to avoid them being bitter.  
Obviously avoid where people walk their dogs or where vehicles pass! 
Pour boiling water over your nettles and boil for 2/3 minutes.  This loses their sting.
Drain and squeeze them out as much as you can.
Add the lemon juice and blitz with a hand blender, set aside.
Cream your butter and sugar, add eggs, zest, vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt.
Incorporate the nettle puree and give it a good mix.
Pop it in to a cake liner/tin and bake for 30 or so minutes at around 180c, testing with a skewer to make sure it comes out clean.  
I had to cover with foil half way through as it browned a little more than I’d like
You can cover with frosting or a glaze, whatever takes your fancy.  I made a glaze of sugar and lemon juice for this one and it was very nice.
Enjoy 🙂


Monday night preserving – Rhubarb wine, rhubarb vodka, chamomile tea and drying herbs!

What feels like a long time ago now….On May Day, I harvested lots of rhubarb with Grace.  We needed 3kg to make some wine with.  We got a lot more than 3kg! 

The leaves went in the compost bin, which some people worry about as they’re poisonous (Oxalic Acid), but fear not, the leaves are broken down rendered fine to use as compost.  People have done it and survived and that’s scientific enough for me.

After washing the rhubarb we chopped 3kg up and put it into a sterilised fermenting bucket with 2.6kg granulated sugar.  I sterilised the bucket using a powder from “The Range” which you make a solution from.  It’s £1 a pack and I hope it works as we have struggled with sterilising (or sanitising) in the past.

 

The bucket was sealed and left for 3 whole days. The recipe I used was John Wright’s.

We added cool boiled water to make it to 4.5 litres and added the other bits and pieces which you can find in the link. We left it for a week and it nearly blew the lid off the fermenting bucket so we moved it to the demi John after about 5 days and fit a bubble trap.

Tonight we decanted it into sanitised wine bottles. I knew we were going to need wine bottles so I sacrificed a few Friday nights and managed to drink enough rose wine to free up enough bottles for the rhubarb wine! The things I do for preserving!! It looks really good and I am pleased with the outcome. We need to get the labels off still!

For the rhubarb vodka we added 600g chopped rhubarb to a litre of vodka, 200g sugar and some orange zest. It was left for 9 weeks then we strained it through a muslin and back into the bottle it came from! You don’t need to use expensive vodka, we just got a lot on offer. It tastes nice and we are going to make some more so we’re stocked up for Christmas gifts and visitors plus the odd tipple night of our own!

For the chamomile tea I harvested a pint size amount of chamomile flower heads and dried them out overnight in the dehydrator.

It turned out fab. I stored the dried heads in a clip top jar and tested some out. Pouring boiling water over a few heads, left it to steep for 2 minutes then poured back through a sieve into a mug. It tastes really nice and is very good for you. I’ll be keeping this one.

I did the same for the herbs I harvested, mint, lemon thyme, rosemary and lemon balm then ground them up using the food processor and mortar and pestle. The rosemary had to go back on as it just won’t dry! 

The rosemary went back on with some tomatoes from the greenhouse and mushrooms (from Aldi!).

I also managed to stew some rhubarb for the freezer for later in the year to make a nice crumble as we have not had one yet this year!!

All in all a good preserving night and a base for me to work on for next years ideas.